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Do We Want Our Children To Be Mindful?

06/01/2017 12:14 GMT | Updated 06/01/2017 12:14 GMT

Now there's a thought with which to begin 2017!

Mindfulness is simply an ability to attend to the present moment with curiosity and without judgement. It is a life skill that promotes wellbeing and well doing, concentration, resilience, emotional intelligence, empathy.

I have written extensively about Educating for the Future and how the practice of Mindfulness can play an important role. Indeed, how introducing Mindfulness into education practice and into schools will help us to reset the bar and where it already has, the benefits for children who participate include:

  • Lowered levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone)

  • Improved attention and concentration spans

  • Calmer classrooms and happier children

  • Improved maths score, more collaborative learning and sharing, and less falling out.

It's never too early to learn the benefits of relaxation with Mindfulness

That we should be investing early in the lives of our children is for me, a no-brainer! It's a fundamental given in helping them to grow-up to become independent, vital, creative, collaborative, resilient, resourceful, productive and happy adults.

Adults who can fully contribute, both economically and socially. So, high on our collective agenda then should be making Mindfulness an integral part of the core curriculum within school and putting wellbeing and well doing front and centre.

This however is all out-with the home. We know that where children are experiencing Mindfulness in the classroom, parents report that their children are sleeping better at home, so what can we do to bring it in-house as well, so to speak?

A Parent's and Teacher's Delight

In fact, wouldn't it be great to have to hand something that for Mindfulness was both a parent and a teacher's delight? Something that could be used both at home and at school.

Something that concentrates on body scan meditations, visualisations and breathing exercises, to help children cultivate a whole-body awareness of what is going on both in their minds and their bodies, purposefully and without judgement.

Something that helps to promote emotional regulation and create a sense of calmness, resilience, happiness and wellbeing.

Mindfulness for Children

Then I came across an app. 'Mindfulness for Children'. It's been created just for this purpose and it's been developed by a Danish couple, who were inspired by the work of Dr Dan Siegel and Susan Kaiser Greenland amongst others.

Children, parents and teachers in Denmark, the U.S., Canada, Australia and the UK are already using the app. and as Pia Holgeresen, who developed this teaching tool with her partner Jannik says, "Our app. offers simple but effective exercises, for noticing body sensations and thoughts and then enabling the user to become comfortable with them".

Pia who's also a trained Psychomotor Therapist continues, "Our original idea was and remains that children should be first taught about Mindfulness by a trained Mindfulness teacher, but then use the app. to practice with their parents at home".

The Science is certainly with them and if it helps a child to feel calmer, happier, more fulfilled, able to concentrate and perform better in class too, then... Well perhaps we should let Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of 'The MIndful Child' and 'Mindful Games' have the last words here, "Through Mindfulness children nurture positive qualities like kindness, compassion and open mindedness as they learn more about themselves, other people and the world. Educators prise all of these capacities and insights and they're ones that parents hope their children will develop".

And for more details about the 'Mindfulness for Children' app visit http://mindful-app.com

Paul Mudd is himself author of, 'Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful' and presenter of the series, 'From Mindfulness With Love' available free on iTunes.

Through The Mudd Partnership he works with business leaders, organisations and individuals in support of change, leadership excellence, organisational and individual wellbeing, and introducing Mindfulness. He can be contacted at paul@themuddpartnership.co.uk and you can follow the continuing journey Uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and @Paul_Mudd

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